It’s that time of year again when half of us make New Year’s Resolutions and the other half vow them off. Some of us commit to better health, a happier relationship, a more meaningful life, or an unforgettable experience. Others of us, annoyed by the hype, commit to remaking ourselves on any day of the year, not just January 1.
Regardless of your personal view of yearly resolutions, most of us agree that it’s necessary to evaluate and reset our “life mission statement” on a regular basis (whether we do that or not is a whole other story). The most successful businesses set goals and evaluate their progress on an annual and monthly basis – it wouldn’t hurt for us to do the same with our personal lives.
As you’re planning your 2017 resolutions (or avoiding them) consider spending a few moments to evaluate your spiritual life. What can you do in this New Year to grow your walk with God?
For Christians, this should be our #1 priority. Here are a few resolution ideas to make 2017 the year that you have the greatest relationship with God of your life to-date. Consider implementing at least one or two of these activities into your life over the next 12 months and see what happens.
1. Read the Bible through in a year
It’s possible to read the Bible through in a year by spending just 15 minutes every weekday on the task. As Christians, we declare that the Bible is the Word of God and a book to live by. Yet a surprisingly few number of Christians have ever read the book.
If you want to make 2017 the year that you read the Bible through, then check out the YouVersion app to download the Bible onto your phone with a variety of reading plans. The app can also be scheduled to remind you to read every day. If you select the reading plan that has you reading just 5 days a week, you have the weekend to catch up if you fall behind.
The Chronological Daily Bible is another great resource, and I am leading a Community Group on Monday nights, starting January 9 to discuss each week’s reading.
2. Pray sincerely every morning
Prayer is so powerful that many non-religious people try to emulate the experience through meditation. That’s because there is power in active, sincere, and authentic prayer. Why not make 2017 the year that you pray every day?
Although any kind of praying is good, if you simply shoot up a “Dear Jesus” as you drive to work it won’t have the same impact as spending a few minutes deeply engaged in conversation with Him when you can focus all of your attention on the activity. Try praying every day in 2017 and watch your health, attitude, and relationships improve.
3. Commit a tithe to the Lord
In Malachi 3, the Israelites are reprimanded for not paying a tithe (10% of their income) to the Lord. Although God loves us through grace, not works, He does promise to bless us when we faithfully give.
The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your life (Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB). Tithing is the only promise in the Bible that God says to test Him. He says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. These me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty,’ and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”
Consider doing a one-year experiment of giving 10% of your income to God. Take the Tithe Challenge today.
By giving away a tenth of what we earn, we are thanking God for his blessings and making it clear to ourselves that everything we own is Gods.
If you make 2017 the year you faithfully pay tithe, you may discover some amazing blessings and experiences.
4. Encourage someone every day
People need encouragement on a constant basis. Life gets hard, loved ones pass away, and stresses can overwhelm our blessings.
An amazing 2017 resolution would be to encourage one person every single day. Some days it may be a conversation with someone at work, another day it may be a phone call, email, letter, or Facebook message to an old friend.
The activity doesn’t have to look the same every day, but if you make it a goal to encourage one person every single day, you will be amazed at the impact you have – and the blessings you receive in return.
5. Memorize scripture
Jesus was able to respond to Satan’s temptations by quoting scripture. How many life situations can we successfully respond to with “it is written…”?
Spend a few minutes every day to learn a verse, and make a goal of memorizing specific chapters, or even entire books, over the next year. How awesome would it be if one of our church members was able to recite/re-enact the entire book of John during our next holiday celebration?
By memorizing the Bible you gain the ability to inspire yourself and others with the very words and blessings of God. How cool is that?
Don’t let one missed day/week discourage you
There’s a reason that January is the busiest time of year at the gym – everyone commits to a resolution, misses a day, and gives up.
Don’t let that be you in 2017! Instead, set an alarm to go off every month for a “Resolution Reevaluation”. Make every month an opportunity to restart if you’ve fallen behind – and don’t throw in the towel when you miss a day.
God bless as you pursue your new aspirations for 2017. Happy New Year's
Keyword: New Years Resolution